By David Fong
TROY — After nearly 80 years, Todd Darbyshire still stands alone in history — much like he stood alone atop the podium at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state wrestling meet on that winter day in 1982.
Since the first Ohio state wrestling tournament was held in 1938, thousands of Troy High School wrestlers have sought a state title, but to this day, Darbyshire remains the only one to have captured that elusive honor.
Darbyshire — a 1982 Troy High School graduate — will be honored this weekend as one of five members of the Trojan Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2015. He will be in attendance for a ceremony before the Troy football team’s game Friday, and then formally inducted into the hall of fame Saturday night at a banquet at the Crystal Room in Troy.
Darbyshire’s lack of peers on the mat is matched only by his lack of ego and self-awareness regarding his lofty position in Troy’s athletic pantheon.
“I honestly don’t know how to feel about it,” Darbyshire said of his impending induction. “I’ve never really been a beat-my-chest kind of guy. When they called and told me, I was like, ‘Who, me?’ The more I sit and ponder it, the more nervous I get. I really was kind of surprised.”
He shouldn’t be.
Darbyshire’s senior year as a Trojan wrestler not only was the most dominant in school history, but one of the most impressive in state history — many Ohio high school wrestling experts still consider it to be one of the most memorable showings in the history of the state tournament.
Wrestling at 167 pounds, Darbyshire went unbeaten — and largely unchallenged — his senior season. Nicknamed “The Redisdent Destroyer,” Darbyshire pinned his way through the state tournament, includig a pin over highly-touted Joe Silvestro in the state title match — avenging a controversial loss to Silvestro the year before in the state semifinals.
Following the loss to Silvestro as a junior, Darbyshire would place third at the state meet as a junior. As a sophomore, he placed sixth, making him a three-time state placer, also a school record. He also was a three-time Western Ohio League champion, a two-time district champion and still holds school records for both career pins and wins.
He also was a standut on the football field for the Trojans, earning three varsity letters while playing fullback and linebacker and picking up All-WOL honors his senior year. He also was team MVP as a sprinter for the track and field team his senior season.
Following his career at Troy, Darbyshire went on to compete at The Ohio State University, picking up 30 wins as a freshman, placing fourth at the Big Ten meet and qualifying for the NCAA national tournament. A knee injury derailed — and also helped bring an end — to his college career, however.
As impressive capturing a state title was, however, Darbyshire said it was not the most memorable moment of his career at Troy.
“I have two memories that stick out, really,” he said. “The first was when I had to wrestle my brother. He was a senior at Northmont and I was a sophomore. Had I not beat him at districts, he probably would have gone on to be a state placer. I just remember there being a lot of attention on that match. Our careers took off in very different directions after that match.
“The other match I really remember is when I beat a kid from Fairborn named Billy Hayes. He was a top-ranked guy, too. I don’t remember where we wrestled, but I ended up taking it to him. I think I pinned him. I remember six or seven of the referees coming up to me after that match and telling me how impressed they were. That really stuck with me.”
Darbyshire currently lives in Florida, although he did get back to Troy for a visit over the winter.
“It was kind of cool — I popped my head in the wrestling room, and as soon as I did, Coach (Doug) Curnes came running over to me,” Darbyshire said. “I figured he had no clue who I was and was going to ask me to leave. But he came up and shook my hand and told me he knew exactly who I was.”
Apparently, just as he did in 1982, Darbyshire still stands out amongst the rest.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong